A couple years ago I was out Christmas shopping with a friend. She was in charge of the driving so I wasn’t paying much attention after we got into the car. My awareness was completely, well, unaware. I didn’t go over any of my personal safety procedures because I wasn’t the driver. When I get in the car I lock the door, start the car, drive away immediately and then if I need to look at my phone or check my purse, I do it once I have control of my car and situation. Unfortunately for me I passed the reigns of safety and control to the driver. I didn’t notice that she hadn’t started the car, she hadn’t locked the door… instead she was looking on her phone. There we were two sitting duck victims… so of course some guy on drugs opens her door and held us at knife-point. I was too far away to do anything but respond to his demands as he held a knife to my friend. When I read this story of this Senior Citizen with concealed carry, I was proud at how prepared he was and how he followed many safety procedures that I have since adopted.
MICHIGAN- About 10:15 am a 91-yr-old man had just left his vehicle to walk into the Rite Aid on Gratiot Ave in Eastpointe when a strange man approached him. He later told the police that the man was behaving erratically and following him. He told the man that he had a license to have a concealed firearm to scare the man off. Instead the stranger pointed an unknown object at him. The Senior citizen, fearing for his safety fired at the man and struck him in the neck. Thankfully, the stranger was scared off and started to run away. The police were able to track him down across the street. They arrested him then took him to the hospital.
This Senior Citizen did the right thing. When he noticed someone strange approach him, he warned him that he was armed. And when the man continued advancing, he acted. There is a ‘reactionary gap’ which is the distance needed to react decisively and effectively to a given situation. How far a reactionary gap should be varies based on terrain, physical conditioning, situational awareness, skill level and the nature of the attack. A good rule of thumb is to remember that an average healthy male adult can cover 21-feet in about 1.5 seconds. Too much hesitation would allow a suspect to get too close to you and give them the upper-hand.
Here are some good personal security measures for Senior Citizens when out walking or in their car:
WALKING . . .
•If you are attacked on the street, make as much noise as possible by calling for help or blowing a whistle. Do not pursue your attacker. Call 911 and report the crime as soon as possible.
•Avoid walking alone at night. Try to have a friend accompany you in high risk areas . . . even during the daytime.
•Avoid carrying weapons . . . they may be used against you.
•Always plan your route and stay alert to your surroundings. Walk confidently.
•Have a companion accompany you.
•Stay away from buildings and doorways; walk in well-lighted areas.
•Have your key ready when approaching your front door.
•Don’t dangle your purse away from your body. (Twelve percent of all crimes against the elderly are purse snatchings and street robberies.)
•Don’t carry large, bulky shoulder bags; carry only what you need. Better yet, sew a small pocket inside your jacket or coat. If you don’t have a purse, no one will try to snatch it.
IN YOUR CAR . . .
•Always keep your car doors locked, whether you are in or out of your car. Keep your gas tank full and your engine properly maintained to avoid breakdowns.
•If your car breaks down, pull over to the right as far as possible, raise the hood, and wait INSIDE the car for help. Avoid getting out of the car and making yourself a target before police arrive.
•At stop signs and traffic lights, keep the car in gear.
•Travel well-lit and busy streets. Plan your route.
•Don’t leave your purse on the seat beside you; put it on the floor, where it is more difficult for someone to grab it.
•Lock bundles or bags in the trunk. If interesting packages are out of sight, a thief will be less tempted to break in to steal them.
•When returning to your car, check the front and back seat before entering.
•Never pick up hitchhikers.